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The Apocryphal Old Testament Collection of the most important non-canonical Old Testament books designed for general use.

Chapter I

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Text Commentary

1It came to pass in the thirty-second year and on the twentieth day of the month I was in my house. 2And I cried out, saying to the Most High, Lord, grant me the privilege to see 2 Lit. ‘Lord, give the glory that I may see’. thy mysteries. 3And when it was night there came an angel, Michael the archangel, and he said to me, From to-morrow, Esdras, 3 Lit. ‘the prophet Esdras’. you must abstain from food for seventy days. 4And I fasted as he told me. And Raphael, the prince, came and gave me an incense stick. 5And I fasted for twice five 4 So Walker (thus making seventy days in all): the MSS read ‘sixty’. weeks; and I saw God's mysteries and his angels. 6And I said to them, I would plead with God for the race of Christians: it were better for man not to have been born than to come into the world. 7So I was taken up into heaven. And I saw in the first heaven a great company of angels; and they led me to the judgements. 8And I heard a voice saying to me, Have mercy on us, Esdras, God's chosen one. 9Then I began to say, Woe to the sinners, when they see the righteous above angels, and they themselves are in the fires of hell. 5 Lit. ‘into the Gehenna of fire’. 10And Esdras said, Have mercy on the works of thy hands, thou 11 who art full of compassion and mercy: pass sentence on me rather than on the souls of the sinners; for it is better to punish one soul than to bring the whole world to destruction. 12And God said, I will give rest to the righteous in Paradise; and I am indeed merciful. 13And Esdras said, Lord, why dost thou favour the righteous? 14For just as a hired servant 6 Gk. μίσθιος (‘hired servant’)…μισθόν (‘reward’). Both translation and sense in this verse are far from certain. who has served his time and goes away, and then comes again into the service of his former master as a slave by a lucky chance, 7 Reading ἐπιτυχω̂ς for ἐπιτυχει̂ν. so also is the righteous man who has received his reward 6 Gk. μίσθιος (‘hired servant’)…μισθόν (‘reward’). Both translation and sense in this verse are far from certain. in heaven. 15But have mercy on the sinners, for we know that thou art merciful. 16And God said, I do not see how I can have mercy on them. 17, 18And Esdras said, They cannot endure thy wrath. And God said, They have brought it on themselves. 8 Lit. ‘These things are of such men’. 19And God said, I would 20have you as Paul and John: you offer me freely, uncorrupt, the inviolable treasure, the precious jewel of virginity, 9 Reading παϱθενίας for παϱθένου. the rampart of men. 21And Esdras said, It were better for man not to have been born, 22better not to be alive: the irrational creatures are better when compared with man, because they have to endure no punishment. 23,24But thou hast fashioned us, and given us over to judgement. Woe to sinners in the world to come, for their judgement is interminable and their flame unquenchable.

Notes:

2 Lit. ‘Lord, give the glory that I may see’.

3 Lit. ‘the prophet Esdras’.

4 So Walker (thus making seventy days in all): the MSS read ‘sixty’.

5 Lit. ‘into the Gehenna of fire’.

6 Gk. μίσθιος (‘hired servant’)…μισθόν (‘reward’). Both translation and sense in this verse are far from certain.

7 Reading ἐπιτυχω̂ς for ἐπιτυχει̂ν.

8 Lit. ‘These things are of such men’.

9 Reading παϱθενίας for παϱθένου.

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